Isle of Man Business Network | News
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Members of the Isle of Man business community gathered for the annual Isle of Man Business Network Budget Breakfast at The Palace Hotel and Casino on Wednesday 19 February, sponsored by ILS World.

Over 200 attendees registered for the event which saw the Isle of Man Treasury Minister, Alfred Cannon MHK, outline the Department’s Pink Book and financial plans for the coming year.

The sell-out breakfast event is the first opportunity for the Isle of Man business community to hear from the Treasury Minister following the Budget’s approval in Tynwald the day before.

Key messages in the 2020 Budget included a focus on climate change, health care and increasing the support for low to middle-income workers. Support for businesses was also announced in the budget, with £5million set aside to support new business ventures, a further £1.5 million investment into the roll out of fibre-optic across the Island, and continued financial support for incentives to grow the economically active population.

Chief executive of ILD World, Chris Eaton said:

‘ILS World’s association with the network goes back many years as we feel the group has an important role in supporting the Island’s business community which we hope will continue for many years to come.’

Chair of the Isle of Man Business Network, Dearbhla Doyle, said:

‘The Budget Breakfast is one of the Isle of Man Business Network’s key calendar events and we’re proud to be able to provide a useful link between Government and the business community to enable the public to hear first-hand from the Treasury Minister what the budget will mean for them and the wider community. I’d like to thanks ILS World for their kind support and sponsorship of this event and the Network committee for helping to create another successful see-out event.’

In the welcome address from Dearbhla Doyle, Chair of the Isle of Man Business Network, it was also announced that Carrie Allen-Snell would be adopting the role as Vice Chair of the committee following the committees AGM on the 26th March. Current Vice Chairman, Alex Wilson, will then adopt the role of Chair of the Isle of Man Business Network.



On Thursday 28th November, the Isle of Man Business Network held its annual Christmas social event, with 110 members coming together to ring in the festive season at 1886. The event sponsored by Cains, with the support of the local business community who donated a generous consignment of raffle prizes raised over £750 in aid of Victim Support Isle of Man and REACH.

Dearbhla Doyle, Chairman of the Isle of Man Business Network, commented: “2019 has been a year where we’ve tried to focus committee efforts on supporting community and charitable causes with the reintroduction of our Carnivale-themed ball sponsored by Newfield raising in excess of £5,000 for Alzheimers Society Isle of Man. We also marked our UNSECO Biosphere partnership with a beach clean in association with Beach Buddies Isle of Man alongside continuing to man feeding stations at the Parish and End to End Walk through our Team IOMBN banner.”

“2020 will be another year of monthly learning and social events aimed at a broad cross-section of the business community including a topical presentation from Luke Adebiyi on mental health sponsored by Capital International Group, Annual Budget Breakfast presented by the Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK sponsored by ILS World and wine tasting social at the Wine Cellar in the first quarter.”

This year the Isle of Man Business Network has hosted 15 events across the Douglas district, with over 1500 attendees providing a good indication of the strength of local appetite for continued professional development. Speakers including Lynn Day, Head of Design at Starbucks EMEA, TED-presenter and Olympic coach, Phil Quirk of PQ Performance and Carol Glover, international life coach with some heavy-hitting US friends have all contributed to the business networks reputation as the islands leading business network.

The committee volunteer hours were acknowledged by Isle of Man Newspapers in this year’s Awards for Excellence in November, with the IOMBN a shortlisted finalist in the Sharing our Freedom to Flourish category.

Ahead of the 2020 events season, the IOMBN are inviting individuals and corporates to renew or enrol in their membership programme which provides individuals or corporates of 10 employees and upwards with early bird access and discounted ticket prices to their sell-out events.

In November, the IOMBN secured an affiliate membership with BITA International which will provide IOMBN members with networking opportunities when travelling overseas in the UK and Ireland. To find out more about membership benefits or future events, which non-members can also access, please visit


A topical debate on the advantages of legalising cannabis on the Isle of Man was hosted on
Wednesday 6 November by the Isle of Man Business Network and event sponsors, ILS World.
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, proposed the motion, “This house believes that the economic and medical
advantages of legalising all strains of cannabis in the Isle of Man outweigh the social concerns”,
which was seconded by Dave Taggart, COO of Glycyx Therapeutics Limited.
The debate covered a variety of economic and medical advantages, including benefits of increasing
employment through industrial hemp production harvesting, reducing crime, to tourism
Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health on the Isle of Man opposed the motion, which was
seconded by Dawn Henley, Public Health Strategist on the Island.
Dr Alex Allinson, said: “The debate was a great venue for exploring some of the more complex issue
around drug law reform in a mature environment and with very perceptive contributions from the
Dr Henrietta Ewart, summerised the topic on the night with the following: “This is an area that we
should start small and go slow, evaluating as we go, learning from the experiences of other
jurisdictions. “
Earlier this year the Isle of Man Government opened a consultation which focused on the medicinal
use of cannabis aimed at reducing the symptoms of medical conditions. The consultation received
3285 responses from both island residents and local organisations.
ILS World Chief Executive Officer, Chris Eaton said: “I would like to thank the panel, the audience and
those who asked questions and made comments for taking part as together they helped craft an
informed and measured debate. The evening highlighted many facts and it was clear any decisions
on cannabis reform are complex and for that reason having open conversations is beneficial. ILS
World has been teaming up with the IOM Business Network for a number of years to host an annual
debate and we are delighted so many people are attracted to listening to reasoned arguments that
showcase research, presentation and teamwork.”

Dearbhla Doyle Chair of IOMBN: “On behalf of the Isle of Man Business Network I would like to thank
Chris for expertly chairing the debate, all our speakers for the time they gave out of their week for
the debate and in particular to Kamille and ILS World for bringing the topic to our platform and
supporting the event.”
The event was hosted at the Palace Hotel & Casino and saw over 90 attendees join for the insightful


Team Isle of Man Business Network (Team IOMBN) has spent the summer supporting a number of local community and environmental initiatives, having secured UNESCO Biosphere Partner status earlier this year.

In June, Team IOMBN supported the Parish Walk as thousands of brave walkers tackled the 85 mile course. Those who made it to Bishopscourt were met by volunteers on the IOMBN stand where they were handed a variety of refreshments and received a wealth of encouragement.

Almost 100 individuals from across the Island also signed up to take part in the Isle of Man Business Network Big Beach Clean with Beach Buddies in August. The collective effort, which took place at Scarlett Beach in Castletown, saw over 15 bags of plastic and discarded rubbish collected. For what on the surface appeared to be an immaculate beauty spot, closer inspection revealed that micro‐plastics and nurdles had found their way up the shoreline. Whilst not visually as detracting, these micro‐plastics pose a greater threat to our local wildlife and migrating populations.

Team IOMBN also joined together earlier this month for the annual End2End Walk to help nearly 150 walkers stay hydrated and refreshed as they passed the IOMBN stand on Peel Promenade during the 40‐mile race.

The events brought together people from a range of business backgrounds as they joined in with Team IOMBN’s community initiatives, which is what the Team IOMBN programme was designed to do.

Team IOMBN provides sole traders and small businesses with a platform to get involved in team events where they may not be able to garner a full complement from within their own organisation.

Networking goes beyond the boardroom and the core principle of IOMBN is founded on creating an environment for business networking. Team IOMBN provides the perfect outlet to give back whilst adding value to our members and broader business community.

Chair of the Isle of Man Business Network, Dearbhla Doyle, said:

‘We’ve seen some fantastic interest in our community events this summer and it’s been great to have so many people wanting to get involved. One of the Isle of Man Business Network’s key aims is to encourage and enable our members to meet likeminded people and to expand their network. These events have been really informal and allowed people to get to know one another in a less formal environment than some of our other events. They’ve also enabled us to give something back to our community and we’re already looking forward to organising our next set of community events.’

‘The Isle of Man’s UNESCO Biosphere status is a valuable accolade for us as an Island and we’re proud to have become a Biosphere Partner earlier this year. These events have helped us to support our Biosphere Partner pledge where we’ve engaged with our local community to make a positive impact on our environment.’

The Isle of Man Business Network launched Team IOMBN in May 2016 to connect with the local communities that enable local businesses and individuals, to flourish and inspire extracurricular teamwork to form a bond between Business Network members beyond the Boardroom by facilitating participation in local sporting, community and cultural events.

The Isle of Man Business Network’s Annual General Meeting saw a change in the leadership team with existing Chairman Katie Nicholson of Bridge Angel Network assuming the role of President and Vice Chairman Dearbhla Doyle of Microgaming graduating to Chairman for the April 2019 to March 2020 term, with Head of Marketing Alex Wilson of Bold Consultancy joining the leadership team as Vice Chairman.

Under Katie’s stewardship, the Isle of Man Business Network has put on 12 events over the last year attended by more than 1,000 members and non-members at ten different venues, and with 19 guest speakers and various event sponsors, achieving solid year on year membership growth with numbers currently at an all-time high.

Katie Nicholson, now President, commented: “The Isle of Man Business Network has had a fantastic year testament to the commitment and dedication of our volunteer committee. In March we saw the return of our annual ‘Carnivale’ charity ball in association with Newfield supporting their chosen charity for 2019 – Alzheimer’s Isle of Man”.

“As an organisation we have continued to strengthen our relationships with local companies and key sponsors including ILS World, Barclays, Cannacord and Estera. Through the support of our growing membership we have raised over £5,000 for local charities”.

“We have partnered with the Department for Enterprise to bring key updates to the business community through events such as our ‘Brexit Breakfast’ and ‘Digital Isle of Man Blockchain Breakfast’. We regard these events as being key to our annual calendar to ensure our members are kept up to date with new initiatives and changes that will impact business”.

Incoming Chairman, Dearbhla Doyle, commented: “The Business Network is an organisation where individuals can grow in a professional capacity. Members benefit from learning events that refresh knowledge on national and international trends and change that affects business operations and can socialise to broaden their contact network in a safe, inclusive and diverse environment”.

“Our hard-working voluntary committee gave over 490 hours to support the events programme last year and with Annabel Heap, Tom Wilson, Jessica Cocker, Savannah Ingham and Tamiko Ross joining the committee this year, we’re on a positive footing to continue to produce quality events and experiences for members and guests, and see the Network develop partnerships with sponsors, co-hosts, educators, new and existing businesses, and be seen as the go-to networking platform for business relocators to integrate and form strong connections with the local business communities here”.

Alex Wilson, former Head of Marketing, and incoming Vice Chairman, added: “Since 2016, the programme of events has grown and diversified, offering something for everyone cross industries including your non-typical business event attendees, which is what we’re striving to achieve as a committee of volunteers – an open network where everyone is welcome to participate and take benefit. Initiatives including Team IOMBN, a CSR initiative whereby members can participate in charitable, community and sporting events through the Business Network, partnering with to close the Isle of Man Graduate Fair with ‘Grad Talks’ and events marketing have helped improve the Network’s visibility locally and with a dedicated committee of volunteers, this year will be about continuing to grow our appeal and respond to members’ feedback so we continue to deliver an events programme that meets the local business community’s needs”.


Isle of Man Business Network has announced an informal networking event for students considering their options after university or college, or for those looking to further their career in the Isle of Man.


The event, which takes place at Eagle Labs on Victoria Street on Wednesday 17th April from 6.30pm, promises to take a refreshing and honest look at working life in the Isle of Man, drawing on first-hand experience within the Island’s diverse economy.


Attendees will hear from a panel of Isle of Man Business Network members who work across a variety of sectors and have returned or relocated to the Isle of Man after their studies. They will share stories of their careers, what brought them to the Island and shed light on the opportunities for career progression that they might not have experienced elsewhere.


Isle of Man Business Network delivers an annual calendar of events for people at all stages of their careers, and the committee are particularly passionate about highlighting the opportunities available to the younger workforce. This will be the first event delivered under the incoming chairman for the organisation, Dearbhla Doyle, who commented:


‘We know how daunting it can be when starting out in the world of work, with so many options available to you. Students might sometimes overlook opportunities ‘on their doorstep’ and not be aware of the breadth of new opportunities available in the Island’


‘One of the best things about living and working in the Isle of Man is that you can work in a truly global business centre for internationally recognised organisations, but it’s still relatively simple to network and make your mark within a community of likeminded professionals. By opening this invitation out to anyone with an interest in career progression, we hope to demonstrate that the Island can be a fantastic launch pad for your career.’


The panel session will be followed by a Q&A and informal networking session over pizza and drinks, giving attendees the opportunities to really get to grips with the benefits of basing their career in the Island.


Registration for the event is now available via Eventbrite at and the Isle of Man Business Network website.


The recently announced National Insurance holiday scheme provides for returning students and new residents to receive a refund of their National Insurance contributions in their first year of working in the Island. Recent statistics also revealed that there a good opportunities for career progression in the Island’s young workforce, with 1 in 3 workers aged 18 – 29 being promoted in the past year.


This event complements the Department for Enterprise’s Isle of Man Graduate Fair which also takes place on the 17th from 12pm – 6.30pm at Woodbourne House. The event is being delivered by the Department for Enterprise’s Locate Isle of Man programme, which seeks to promote the opportunities available in the Island for skilled workers. Registration for the graduate fair is also available via Eventbrite


On: 1 March 2019, from 7:00 for carriages at midnight

At: Woodbourne House, Woodbourne Road, Douglas


Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man will benefit from a Carnivale-themed charity ball taking place next month in Douglas, thanks to the collaboration between two local organisations.


The third annual Isle of Man Business Network Ball in association with Newfield is being held at Woodbourne House on Friday 01 March, with all proceeds raised from the event being donated to support the work of the charity in our local community.


As well as a lavish ‘Carnivale’ theme designed to welcome in the Spring and banish those winter blues, guests will enjoy a pre-dinner drinks reception courtesy of SMP Partners, a three-course feast, charity raffle and silent auction, with entertainment from local party band, Switch. The event will be hosted by Pete Sutton of Barclays.


Manx international racing and sporting events company, Newfield, will provide headline sponsorship to the ball for the first time as part of its active local citizenship agenda and its commitment to invest back in to the local community. Established in 2011, Newfield employs more than 100 people on the Island, with colleagues having chosen Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man as their Charity of the Year for 2019.


Based at Tower House in Douglas, the charity provides support for people to obtain a diagnosis of dementia and, once confirmed, an intensive support programme for that individual, their main carers and their family through a support worker based at the Older Persons Mental Health Service. In addition, it provides:


  • CrISP (Carers Information and Support Programme), a course providing invaluable information about the disease, coping strategies and even legal help, as well as providing carers with a network of like-minded people who are experiencing the same thing as them
  • The Side by Side service, which provides patients with a volunteer to support them  
  • Singing for the Brain sessions, based in Port Erin, Ramsey and Douglas to stimulate the memory (plans are in place to re-establish this service in Peel)
  • A hospital-based Dementia Support Worker (at both Noble’s and Ramsey Cottage hospitals)
  • A community Dementia Support Worker to provide at home support


It is a stand-alone Manx charity, linked to the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society, and relies solely on voluntary funding to operate; it does not receive any financial grants from the Isle of Man Government.


Grahame Bell, Services Manager, said: “Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man only exists thanks to the generosity of Manx residents supporting the work we do across the community, where we really do make a visible difference. In many ways, we really are a lifeline for a number of individuals and their carers who would otherwise feel very isolated. We’re incredibly grateful to Newfield, SMP Partners and the Isle of Man Business Network for collaborating for our benefit, and to those attending the Ball for their generous support.”


Katie Nicholson, Chair of the Isle of Man Business Network, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with Newfield for the first time as headline sponsor for our charity ball, and to be working with Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man for the first time in a fundraising capacity. I’d also like to thank SMP Partners for their generosity in sponsoring the pre-event drinks reception which will enable more money to be donated to charity. Sadly, most of us will know someone who has been touched by dementia in some form and will understand what a devastating illness this is. The money raised through this event will make a valuable difference to patients and their families locally.”


Mark Reynolds, Director of Newfield, commented: “Newfield is a passionate supporter of local good causes, and we know that the charity is very close to the hearts of a number of our colleagues as well as making a significant difference to the people it helps. We have a really strong culture of teamwork across our company and place a real emphasis on having fun and forging strong social networks in the workplace, so what better way to raise money for our Charity of the Year than by combining a fantastic social event with a fundraiser? This promises to be a spectacular event not to be missed, and I’m delighted that such an exceptional charity will be reaping the benefits of this.”


Mark Denton, Managing Director of SMP Partners, concluded: “As a keen supporter of the Island’s community, we are always looking for opportunities to make a difference in the place we are proud to call home. Having a strong working relationship with Newfield, this sponsorship was a perfect fit for us and we’re pleased to be supporting this exciting event which will raise all-important funds for a very worthwhile cause. From the pre-dinner reception to the lavish three-course dinner and entertainment, the ball promises to be a wonderful evening for all who attend and we look forward to donning our black ties and ball gowns.”


Guests at a recent Isle of Man Business Network event may have expected to hear about the inner workings of life at one of the world’s leading hospitality brands when they signed up for its recent learning session with Lynn Day – Design Director for Starbucks in the EMEA region – but instead were treated to a fascinating insight in to her career and her passion for empowering females in the workplace.


For the majority of its learning events, the Isle of Man Business Network uses the expertise of local speakers, but every so often it invites guests from off-Island, such as Lynn, to come and address its members. She spoke with real self-depricating humour to a sell-out crowd at The Claremont Hotel about her journey through what she describes as a ‘difficult and harsh’ industry to work in, as well as her much coveted role at Starbucks and how she reinvented her career in her early 50s.


Genuinely, we’d say she really is living her best life!


So, how did a young girl from Yorkshire find herself in the bright lights of London at the age of 21 in the recession-hit early 80s?


Quite simply, she followed her then boyfriend, and took a part-time job working in the Food Hall at Harrods where she described meeting some incredible characters, and rapidly building her confidence in dealing with the public. Not long after, she applied for an entry-level in-house design role with the household Conran brand and, thanks to standing out because of her very neat handwriting learnt at Art College, was picked from more than 100 applicants and offered her dream job designing store interiors including Debenhams, Habitat and Richards.


It probably seems alien to most reading this article that job applications were done by hand, graphic design images were sketched using pencils and rulers and starting salaries were £5,000, but thanks to a series of fascinating photos and stories, Lynn took guests all the way through her career in words and pictures from working for Conran, designing exquisite carpets for palaces in the Middle East, running campaigns for Marlboro and designing for Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, Harrods in Heathrow T5 and M&S in Westfield – amongst many others – all the way through to today and launching Starbucks sites at some of the most iconic places in the world where life ‘never stands still’ and each store is individually designed to be as personal to the location as possible.


One thing the audience really appreciated was Lynn’s honesty around her struggles as a working mum, and her personal opinion that women should try wherever possible to stay in the job market after having children to maintain their confidence and reduce the barrier that exists when women – as well as men – try to re-enter the workplace. She also had a very clear message for employers having a moral duty to look after their staff; investing in your people will not only prove good business sense long-term, but will increase their loyalty no-end

We do have a voice in the UK and they are listening to us’ – the message that came from Isle of Man Government officials at the recent Brexit update breakfast held in conjunction with the Isle of Man Business Network.


More than one hundred members of the Island’s business community attended the event at the Sefton Hotel featuring a panel of experts including Della Fletcher (Director of External Relations, Cabinet Office), Carl Hawker (Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Enterprise) and Sandra Skuszka (Collector of Customs and Excise, Treasury), and moderated by Dan Davies (Interim Chief Executive, Department of Home Affairs).


Nearly six months on from a similar panel discussion at the Islexpo conference, Government revealed there is now much more focus on specific detail and has published a comprehensive series of Technical Notices which look at how different Brexit scenarios may impact local businesses and industry sectors.


The panel collectively agreed in the need to ensure the Island is most effectively positioned in a number of critical areas moving forward, and can do this more robustly when the impact on the UK is known. They also cited the need to plan for the worst case scenario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on 29 March 2019 and ensure that our legislation ensures ‘business as usual’ as much as is possible.


Two key areas of concern that have been cited by local business owners include around resourcing, the impact on labour supply and access to skills, which recent revisions to the strategy are designed to help, and around the supply of goods from the manufacturing and agriculture sectors in to the EU, and any resulting impact on future orders.


For further information on Brexit, please visit the Isle of Man Government’s Technical Notices at For further information on future Isle of Man Business Network events, please visit